2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, Standard Scoring - Round 1
With the 2014 NFL Draft now behind us, we have wasted no time in starting a new fantasy football mock draft.
In this mock draft, four of our site's contributors (Brendan Donahue, Dan Yanotchko, Sean Beazley and yours truly) will each draft for three teams per round and the mock will run for 10 rounds.
Here are Round 1 results (commentary from me for all picks):
Since the beginning of the offseason, it's been a tossup for me on which running back to take with the first overall pick: Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy. Either way, there is not a wrong choice with either one.
Charles led the league in total touchdowns with 19 — 12 rushing and seven receiving scores. As great as that was for his fantasy owners in 2013, it will be unlikely for Charles to repeat. If you remember back to 2011, McCoy scored a league-high 20 touchdowns and then followed that up with just five total touchdowns in 2012.
It certainly wouldn't be a knock on Charles if he does not repeat last year's scoring fest and I'm not projecting a drop to five total touchdowns for him. That said, what he did last season is rare as the only running backs with 19-plus touchdowns in the past seven seasons are: Charles (2013), McCoy (2011) and DeAngelo Williams (2008).
Playing one less game than McCoy as the Chiefs rested their starters in Week 17, Charles set a career high in yards from scrimmage (1,980) and that ranked second only to McCoy. In addition, no other player had as many games with 100-plus YFS than Charles (13) last season.
1.02 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
McCoy led the NFL in rushing yards (1,607), yards from scrimmage (2,146) and touches (366) in his first season playing in Chip Kelly's offense. With the addition of Darren Sproles to the team's backfield, McCoy should see a few less targets in the passing game and it's unlikely he duplicates his career-high 314 carries this year. That said, I still expect at least 300-325 touches in 2014.
With Charles and McCoy off the board, I guess I'll have to settle for Peterson. While he's unlikely to ever duplicate his historic 2012 season, Peterson has put up monster numbers despite battling injuries and facing eight- or nine-men fronts over the past couple of seasons.
And while touchdown production tends to fluctuate for running backs, Peterson has rattled off double-digit rushing scores in all seven of his NFL seasons. If there are some concerns with Peterson, it's the fact that he's now 29 years old and has racked up more than 2,000 career rush attempts.
Then again, doubt All Day at your own peril.
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As noted in my one-man fantasy mock before the (real) draft, I'd go with six running backs before going with another position. As much as I like Megatron, who would my top choice at receiver, there is a strong likelihood that a RB/RB/WR start would feel as though I'm in a better position than a Megatron/RB/RB start after three rounds.
With that said, Megatron is my favorite player in the NFL. Even though he missed two games last season (and Josh Gordon led the league in receiving), Johnson had 84 receptions for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns. In his record-setting campaign in 2012, he had only five touchdowns, but he now was 12-plus receiving touchdowns in three of the past four seasons. Over the past three seasons, Megatron has averaged an absurd line of 101/1,712/11.
Regardless of where you draft Calvin, there is no disliking having him on your roster.
With this pick, it comes down to personal preference as I'd prefer Matt Forte over Lacy, but they are my RB4 and RB5, respectively. Personally, I would have taken Lacy here (and Forte at No. 4) as I did in my one-man mock.
One of my preseason bold predictions in 2013 was that Lacy would lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns. While he didn't and that doesn't seem as bold a year later, I think there is a strong chance that Lacy rushes for double-digit touchdowns once again.
Lacy had a monster rookie season: 1,178 rushing yards and 11 TDs plus 35 receptions for 257 yards. From Week 5 through their playoff loss, Lacy had 11 games with 20-plus carries as the Packers were committed to the run with or without Aaron Rodgers under center. Provided Rodgers stays healthy for a full 2014 season, I think Lacy's numbers will be even better in Year 2.
1.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Although I was hoping he'd slip to me at 1.07, I knew there was virtually no chance of that. As noted earlier, I would have taken Forte at 1.04 so I like the value of getting him here.
Forte rushed for 1,339 yards and caught 74 passes for 594 yards, all of which are career highs, and tied his previous career high of 12 total touchdowns last season. One of the league's most complete backs, Forte benefits from having one of league's best tandem of wide receivers on the outside in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, both of whom are also good blockers at receiver.
The Seahawks drafted Christine Michael early in the 2013 draft, but Lynch should continue to be the team's workhorse back. For a third consecutive season, Lynch rushed for more than 1,200 yards with double-digit touchdowns. Over that three-year span, he has 901 carries for 4,051 yards, 87 catches for 724 yards and a total of 39 touchdowns.
Although I'd personally go with A.J. Green as my WR2, Thomas would be in the mix and deserves consideration for that honor. That said, I'd personally go with Jimmy Graham or a running back here as it's possible that Thomas would be available at Sean's next pick (2.05).
Even so, Thomas has once again posted huge numbers and should be in line for another monster season. In his second with Peyton Manning, DT's numbers were nearly identical to his first season. Last year, Thomas had 92 receptions (94 in 2012), 1,430 yards (1,434) and 14 touchdowns (10).
1.09 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
Graham became the 19th player in NFL history to catch at least 16 touchdown passes and just the second tight end to ever do so. If the first tight end to do so, Rob Gronkowski, were not returning from a torn ACL and his sixth surgery (on multiple body parts) over the past 18 months, Graham might even be the No. 2 tight end on my board.
But he's not. An offseason of uncertainty surrounding Gronk's health once again boosts Graham's value a bit further. Since his breakout season in 2011, Graham has averaged a line of 90/1,169/12 in those three seasons.
There are a number of running backs that I considered here. After the top six, there are about five or six running backs that I feel are fairly similar from a fantasy outlook.
Before the 2014 NFL Draft this past weekend, Murray was ranked as my RB7. After the draft, that won't change. While the team did not add a better backup to steal touches, they did add Notre Dame's Zack Martin to improve their offensive line further.
[On a side note, I will be updating my 2014 fantasy rankings within the next day or two.]
The biggest concern with Murray is his durability, but he played a career-high 14 games last year, and he has top-five upside if he can stay healthy for a full season. With a career average of 4.95 YPC, Murray established new career highs of 1,121 rushing yards, 53 receptions for 350 yards and 10 total touchdowns.
In the final eight games of the season, Murray had 879 YFS, seven TDs and a 5.5 YPC average. Only four running backs had more YFS in their team's final eight games than Murray.
With only one carry in the team's first four games, Stacy was given 250 of them in the final 12. In the final nine games of the season, Stacy had exactly 200 carries for 759 yards (only 3.80 yards per carry), 20 receptions for 96 yards and a total of seven touchdowns.
Stacy should get a larger (overall) workload in 2014. GM Les Snead was quoted as saying in February that Stacy "should be more productive (in '14) because he should have more carries."
Compared to the other backs currently on the roster, the team drafted stiffer competition for touches by selecting Auburn's Tre Mason in the third round on Friday night. But the selection of Mason's teammate Greg Robinson with the second overall pick helps improve the running game overall.
So, in other words, I expect Stacy to average less than the 22.22 carries per game he averaged in his final nine games, but I also expect him to average more than the 3.80 YPC he averaged during that stretch.
[Tease/spoiler: I like Stacy, a lot, but I'm thrilled to get the other RB I considered at 1.10 with my next pick at 2.03.]
1.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
While he may not have the most upside out of the group of receivers immediately following Megatron, Green is perhaps the safest among that next tier of stud receivers and has the ability to dominate opposing defensive backs on any given Sunday.
Through his first three seasons, Green has 260 receptions for 3,833 yards and 29 touchdowns. In a three-year span to start a career, no player has had more receptions than Green (260) and only Randy Moss has more receiving yards (4,163) than Green (3,833). In each of his three seasons, Green's numbers have improved — 65/1,057/7 (2011), 97/1,350/11 (2012) and 98/1,426/11 (2013).